Monday, May 18, 2009

A call for addressing climate change issues

Discusses WB-aided J&K Participatory Water Management Project 
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister (CM) Mr. Omar Abdullah today called for large-scale afforestation in the State by using innovative measures to reclaim the denuded and depleted forest areas. He said in the present-day age, climate change issues get prime focus, given the fact that survival of mankind hinges on sustaining our ecosystem and saving it from the hazards of global warming. 
Chairing a high-level meeting of Forest Department here today to discuss matters regarding implementation of World Bank-aided Jammu and Kashmir Participatory Water Management Project (PWMP), the Chief Minister showed concern about degradation of forests and water-bodies in the State. “Possibilities for aerial seeding of plants in upper reaches and inaccessible mountainous ranges should be explored to rejuvenate forest wealth”, he stressed.
Mr. Abdullah said that in order to protect and conserve the forests and water-bodies of the State, innovative measures by roping in subject matter specialists and involving people need to be taken to address this issue of eco-significance. He asked the Forest Department to look for modern means for rejuvenating forests and ensuring conservation and protection of environment. “State’s forests and water-bodies are fundamental ingredients of natural beauty and economic resources. We have to focus on their protection at all costs”, the Chief Minister maintained.
The meeting, which was also attended by Minister for Forest, Ecology and Environment Mian Altaf Ahmad and Chief Secretary, Mr. S. S. Kapur, discussed in detail matters pertaining to the implementation of PWMP in the State.
Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Mr. Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Principal Secretary, Law, Mr. Akhtar Kochak and Commissioner/Secretary, Forests, Mr. Shant Manu and senior officers of the Forest Department were present in the meeting.
In a power-point presentation made in the meeting, it was stated that the project envisages coverage of 4,32,920 hectares and is spread over 11 sub-watershed areas for adopting an integrated watershed management to reverse the process of degradation of the natural resource base, as well as enhance its productivity and improve livelihood of poor rural households in the project area.
The project cost has been estimated at Rs. 750 crore. Of this, World Bank financing will be to the tune of 80 per cent while as State Government’s share is 17 per cent and that of participatory communities 3 per cent. The life of the project will be seven years.
The project will be operative in 11 sub-watershed areas of Indus in Leh and Suru in Kargil, Kahmil in Kupwara, Jhelum in Baramulla, Sind in Ganderbal, Sukhnag in Budgam, Lidder in Anantnag, Ans in Budhal, Rajouri, Munawar Tawi in Khour, Jammu, Kuntwara in Balassea, Doda and Tawi in Jindhra, Jammu. As many as 1,74,250 households would be covered under the project while as 50,675 households would get direct benefit. The project is likely to benefit over 10 lakh people and generate 45 lakh person-days of wage employment besides providing jobs to 2,000 persons regularly for seven years.
The focus of the project will be on improving the productive potential of natural resources in selected watersheds and increasing the income of the rural poor. The benefits accruing out of the project include on-farm benefits, off-farm benefits and environment and natural resources benefits. The on-farm benefits include demonstration of improved cropping system, provision of inputs, improved agro-ecosystems, development of rain-fed crops like maize, pulses, gram and wheat and cultivation of irrigated crops by providing water harvesting and minor irrigation structures.
The development of horticulture, farm forestry, livestock, afforestation, potable water supply, wage-employment generation, watershed management and development, enhancement of livelihood opportunities, institutional strengthening, non-arable land and arable land development, rural infrastructure development, fodder development, development of migratory route and assistance to tribal/trans-human populations also fall under the ambit of PWMP.

No comments: